A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers
Bob Bowman &
Archie P. McDonald, PhD
Wisdom Table by Bob Bowman 1-25-09
In towns across East Texas, big and small, there’s usually a place
where elderly men gather each morning to have a cup or two of
coffee--and solve the world’s problems. Well, maybe some of the
Cherokee Line by Bob Bowman 11-23-08
The Cherokee Boundary Line, an important part of East Texas, finally
got the recognition it deserves recently in a ceremony on a oiltop
road north of Canton...
man who got around by Bob Bowman 11-18-08
Ambrose Fitzgerald really got around East Texas--and without ever
leaving his homestead...
a 101st birthday by Bob Bowman 10-27-08
Known affectionately as “Ber Ber,” Bertha always has a twinkle
in her eyes and has memories few other people her age can only
Nell Davis by Archie P. McDonald 8-25-08
Gussie Nell Davis and the Kilgore Rangerettes
Hughes by Archie P. McDonald 7-28-08
Howard Robard Hughes Sr.
tribe linked with Texas history by Bob Bowman 6-1-08
Thousands of people drive through East Texas each year without
the knowledge that an Indian reservation--one that played a role
in the independence of Texas--exists within the pine forests...
gifted writer by Bob Bowman 6-1-08
Few people knew Landon Bradshaw, a self-educated writer who had
a remarkable gift for telling stories in a down-to-earth fashion.
He wrote only one book, “These People Actually Lived in East Texas.”
People who have copies cherish it with an affection reserved only
for their wives and rich uncles.
in graveyards by Bob Bowman 5-26-08
As Jackie Asque made her funeral arrangements, she wrote down
instructions for a tombstone inscription. When she passed away
at Lufkin in 1983, the epitaph was chiseled into her gravestone:
“See, I told you I was sick.” Traveling across East Texas, graveyard
visitors are often rewarded with other humorous and poignant tombstone
Ellis Bean by Archie P. McDonald 4-28-08
The American frontier produced many colorful characters, including
Peter Ellis Bean...
Care of My Little Boy" by Archie P. McDonald 3-31-08
The second most quoted letter William B. Travis penned in the
Alamo while awaiting Santa Anna's assault began, "Take care of
my little boy. If the country should be saved, I may make him
a splendid fortune; but if the country should be lost, and I should
perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he
is the son of the man who died for his country." Travis wrote
this last letter from the Alamo early in March 1836 to David Ayers...
Davy survive? by Bob Bowman 2-25-08
Did Davy Crockett survive the battle of the Alamo, only to be
sent to Mexico as a prisoner and forced to work in a mine? The
possibility was raised in an edition of Southwestern Historical
Quarterly in April of 1940...
Printer Fires Both Barrels by Archie P. McDonald 2-18-08
Luther King, Jr. Birthday by Archie P. McDonald 1-7-08
Paye Lane by Archie P. McDonald 12-10-07
Neal by Archie P. McDonald 11-26-07
Mann, Tough Texan by Archie P. McDonald 11-12-07
A lady of my acquaintance, active in the Daughters of the Republic
of Texas, once complained to me on the argumentative nature of
her sisters in this hereditary Lone Star sorority. My explanation:
it's in the blood...
Long, Filibuster by Archie P. McDonald 10-29-07
And Jane Long, Mother of Texas.
Swink comes home by Bob Bowman 9-3-07
Jim Swink, the lanky halfback who thrilled high school and Texas
Christian University football fans in the 1950s, has returned
home to his roots...
Places of LaSalle's Murder by Bob Bowman 7-31-07
It may have been the first known murder of a Caucasian male in
East Texas and, ever since Texas became a civilized land, the
site of La Salle's murder has been a source of unbridled speculation.
At least eight communities have made claims as "the place were
La Salle was killed."...
Henry Faulk by Archie P. McDonald 7-31-07
Johnny Faulk had once been atop the show business ladder in New
York City, only to tumble when falsely accused during the era
of McCarthyism of being a communist. Perhaps it was fighting back
that hurt him most...
Sturdy Pioneer by Bob Bowman 7-16-07
One of my favorite history addicts is ninety-four-year-old Pearl
Weaver Havard, who also cooks a mean plate of cat head biscuits
and brown gravy. Pearl has lived in the same part of Angelina
Country--within the so-called prairie communities along Farm Road
1818 east of Diboll--all of her life...
Edwards by Archie P. McDonald 7-9-07
Haden Edwards helped influence the Anglo settlement of East Texas
almost as much as Stephen F. Austin, but the state capitol and
a couple of universities are not named for him. Here's why...
Republic's First President by Archie P. McDonald 6-4-07
Usually, the argument about who first served as president of the
Republic of Texas involves David G. Burnet, who was appointed
interim president by the Consultation that declared Texas independent
on March 2, 1836, and Sam Houston, first elected president in
September. Maybe Richard Ellis has a claim, too...
Daniel by Archie P. McDonald 5-21-07
Price Daniel served in more political offices than anyone I know
and he did so with distinction and honor.
East Texas Cousin by Bob Bowman 4-30-07
Alexander Hamilton Washington, a cousin of George Washington,
cut a wide swath through Polk and San Jacinto counties before
and after the Civil War, but finding any physical reminder of
his 28 years in East Texas is almost impossible...
for yourself, Robert by Archie P. McDonald 4-23-07
McManus Storm Cazneau by Archie P. McDonald 3-07
Thomas Mitchell Campbell by Archie P. McDonald 2-07
Centenarian's Life by Bob Bowman 2-18-07
A long, long time ago, Clara Davis stopped trying to remember
the names of her grandchildren. But there's a good reason. At
the age of 106, she has 218 of them--34 grandchildren, 91 great-grandchildren,
and 93 great-great grandkids...
'Em Back Alive: Frank Buck by Archie P. McDonald 2-12-07
Before the late Steve Ervin wrestled his first crocodile, ...
before swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller personified Edgar
Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and Jungle Jim in movies and serials, and
before John Wayne performed in a film titled "Hatari!" about a
professional trapper of animals for zoos, Frank Buck captured
American and international audiences with tales of his adventures
doing just those kinds of things everywhere on the planet.
Love Boys by Bob Bowman 1-22-07
For more than fifty years, brothers Olen and Seaby Love have lived
on the same plot of land in rural Morris County, living in ways
that haven't changed much from the days of their pioneer parents.
Smith Brothers by Bob Bowman 1-8-07
Four brothers from Delta County lived with an ordinary name in
the mid-1800s, but they were far from ordinary...
Done Her Wrong: The Sad Case of Mrs. Harriet Moore Page Potter
Ames by Archie P. McDonald 1-2-07
Well. One might say a whole lot of men did Harriet wrong.
After growing up in New Orleans, Harriet Moore left a prosperous
retail store and traveled to the wilds of colonial Texas with
what turned out to be only her first husband, Solomon C. Page.
Prosperity stayed behind in Louisiana.
Blue Heaven: Gene Austin" by Archie P. McDonald 12-4-06
Gainesville, in Cooke County, gained a native son named Eugene
Lucas on June 24,1900. Lucas became one of the nation's most popular
entertainers during the 1930s, but by then he used his stepfather's
Babe by Archie P. McDonald 11-20-06
Mildred Ella Didrikson, the greatest woman athlete of the twentieth
century, was the sixth child born to Norwegian immigrants Ole
Nickolene and Hannah Marie Olson Didriksen, in Port Arthur, Texas,
Marsh Rice by Archie P. McDonald 10-9-06
Everyone loves a murder mystery, especially if the murder happened
a long time ago and did not involve someone they know. The story
of William Marsh Rice's demise is such a case, especially since
I am a beneficiary of his will. Let me explain.
Team by Archie P. McDonald 9-11-06
The Dallas Cowboys, dubbed America's Team in 1978 by Bob Ryan,
editor of NFL Films, really are East Texas' team. That is because
the first owners, Clint Murchison Jr. and Bedford Wynne, were
Big Boy Williams by Archie P. McDonald 8-28-06
We talk mostly about the "stars" of movies, but we know that character
actors can help a film succeed or cause it to fail. One of the
best was Guinn Williams, known to generations of filmgoers-especially
devotees of Westerns-as Guinn "Big Boy" Williams...
High Sheriff of Henderson County by Archie P. McDonald 8-14-06
Old time East Texans refer to some of their revered and feared
lawmen as the "high sheriff," likely an unwitting reference to
an even older office of authority dating back to medieval England…
In Henderson County, the legend was Jess Sweeten.
Hardin Brothers by Bob Bowman 7-10-06
More than 110 years have passed since East Texas outlaw John Wesley
Hardin was shot down in an El Paso saloon, but he remains one
of the most intriguing badmen in history. Almost lost in Hardin's
history are his three brothers, Joe, Jeff and Gip, whose lives
were also singed with violence...
Texas Savior of the French Wine Industry by Archie P. McDonald
Those who favor a glass of wine, especially French wine, may not
be aware of the debt they and the French owe to Dr. Thomas Volney
Munson of Denison, Texas
Williams' Texas Director by Bob Bowman 5-29-06
Without the interest of an East Texas woman, American theater
icon Tennessee Williams might still be writing high school plays
in a small town.
Margil by Archie P. McDonald 5-22-06
Father Antonio Margil de Jesus helped introduce Christianity to
the wilderness of East Texas, but his story began in Valencia,
Spain, where he was born in 1657...
Personal Hero by Bob Bowman 5-14-06
"Leon Herman Adickes, 88, ... died recently at Hemphill --
a place where he helped make history by simply doing things to
make his community a better place. Most of what he did were acts
like making sure Hemphill had a doctor, a hospital, a nursing
home and a Lions Club...."
of the Largest Tree by Bob Bowman 5-1-06
"The passing of Arthur Temple -- the man some newspapers
called the last of the East Texas timber barons -- ended a link
with a history reaching back more than a century."
Parker Family by Bob Bowman 4-17-06
"In the same decade that established Cynthia Ann Parker and
her son, Indian Chief Quanah Parker, as living legends, another
clan of Parkers wrote their own chapter of history in East Texas..."
Willie by Bob Bowman 4-3-06
Robert McAlpin Williamson
"The Republic of Texas, which existed only a decade, had
its share of interesting characters. But few of them were as colorful
as Three Legged Willie, who passed away some 146 years ago..."
Tonk Man by Archie P. McDonald 3-27-06
with a Method by Archie P. McDonald 2-13-06
of an Oldtimer by Bob Bowman 2-5-06
"Alvin Burchfield of Rusk is the kind of oldtimer every historian
dreams of interviewing. At 92, he remembers more facts and dates
than you'll find in most county history books."
Time Judge by Archie P. McDonald 1-29-06
Thomas Whitfield Davidson
Cemetery by Bob Bowman 1-24-06
Edward Smith and the Battle of Sabine Pass, and Thomas B. Anthony
and Nine Acres by Bob Bowman 1-9-06
"With luck -- and an infusion of funds -- a historic Kilgore
home built in the 1930s could be on its way to regaining its stature
as one of East Texas’ most interesting homes. Set in sylvan splendor
in the middle of the East Texas Oil Field, the home of oilman
Tom Potter is best known as Nine Acres, a place where President
Franklin D. Roosevelt probably visited in the thirties."
Isaccs Menken: The lady on the Horse by Archie P. McDonald
Journalism is Local by Archie P. McDonald 12-26-05
Millard Lewis Cope - "Tip O’Neil reminded us that 'all politics
is local.' Millard Cope taught us that the best journalism is
Quebe Sisters by Bob Bowman 11-27-05
"If Bob Wills were around today, the chances are good
that he would be delighted with three teenage sisters from Burleson.
Listening to the Quebe Sisters play the western swing music pioneered
by Wills in the 1930s and l940s, you realize they are special
musicians who love what they’re doing..."
X. Bible and the Twelfth Man by Archie P. McDonald 11-20-05
Dana Xenophon Bible, football coach of the Aggies and Longhorns
Jr. by Archie P. McDonald 11-7-05
"In these days of evaluating our schools—exemplary to acceptable
to whatever—and multiple special legislative sessions devoted
to figuring out how to spend more money on schools while taking
in less revenue, Texans might want to remember A.M. Aikin Jr.,
who helped drag education and Texas into modern times..."
Light Crust Doughboys are on the air! by Archie P. McDonald
Cuney by Archie P. McDonald 10-10-05
"By the end of the nineteenth century, Norris Wright Cuney
had become the most remarkable African American leader in Texas.
Cuney technically began life as a slave on a plantation..."
Other Babe by Archie P. McDonald 9-10-05
"Babe" Didrikson, the outstanding woman athlete of the twentieth
Daniel by Archie P. McDonald 8-22-05
Tigers by Archie P. McDonald 8-7-05
Claire Lee Chennault
straight to hell.” by Bob Bowman 8-1-05
Sam B. Hall, Jr., the son of an East Texas lawyer and judge who
rose to a leadership role in Congress and finished his career
as a federal judge, was one of East Texas’ most interesting contemporary
East Texan by Bob Bowman 7-24-05
Dooley Wilson, the piano player who sang "As Time Goes By"
Friend Morris by Bob Bowman 7-11-05
"Morris Frank, who gained fame for his newspaper columns
in the Houston Chronicle and his speeches throughout America..."
Three Hundred by Archie P. McDonald 7-5-05
Texas and the Black Sox by Bob Bowman 7-1-05
The 1919 World Series is best remembered as the most famous scandal
in baseball history, but lost in that history is an East Texas
connection to the scandal.
Executives by Archie P. McDonald 6-20-05
East Texas has produced its share of prominent personages in entertainment,
business, medicine, and other professions but prominent political
figures have tended to call other sections of the state their
home, especially in the last half century. It started out differently.
by Archie P. McDonald 6-6-05
"Most East Texans who have lived here more than at least
a month of Sundays know that African Americans claim June 19,
or Juneteenth, as their own special day to celebrate freedom.
... But do you know why June 19 is such a special day?"
the Biscuits, Pappy by Bob Bowman 6-1-05
His Texas homilies, radio broadcasts, hillbilly music and
affinity for rural Texas propelled him into the governor’s office
for two terms.
Cohen by Archie P. McDonald 5-8-05
Rabbi Henry Cohen provided a place for thousands of Jewish immigrants
routed through the port of Galveston.
Lady in Blue by Bob Bowman 5-1-05
For longer than anyone can remember, the story of “the
lady in blue” has existed on the fringes of East Texas history
by Archie P. McDonald 4-24-05
Miller: Hero by Archie P. McDonald 4-10-05
African American hero of WWII
by Bob Bowman 4-1-05
Pirate chieftain Jean Laffite supposedly picked the spot on the
river and built a community of crude cabins where his band of
plunderers and highwaymen would have a commanding view of the
Soldier's Story by Bob Bowman 3-27-05
Milton Irish - A classic story of a simple soldier involved in
the momentous events that gave birth to Texas
Bayou Resolutions by Archie P. McDonald 3-22-05
"Turtle Bayou originates just west of Raywood in Liberty
County and flows, eighteen miles away, into Lake Anahuac. Angry
Texans camped near that bayou in June 1832, trying to figure out
how to gain the release of William Barret Travis and Patrick Jack,
who had been arrested in Anahuac by Mexican post commander Juan
Air Ace by Bob Bowman 3-1-05
Lance C. Wade, Royal Air Force of Britain, World War II
Gates by Archie P. McDonald 2-16-05
John Warne Gates, a native of Winfield, Illinois, became associated
with three of Texas’ most important items: barbed wire, railroads,
Darnell by Archie P. McDonald 1-16-05
The brief but brilliant life of actress Linda Darnell began in
Dallas on October 16, 1923...
and East Texas Politics by Archie P. McDonald 1-5-05
Lyndon B. Johnson’s victory over Coke Stevenson for a Senate seat
by only 87 votes earned this future president the nickname of
"Landslide Lyndon." Everyone agrees that Johnson’s aides "stole"
that election by "finding" additional votes for their candidate
in Box 13 in Jim Wells County. What everyone might not know is
that Johnson had been burned by a similar tactic in a special
Senate race in 1941, and had vowed never to be caught short again.
Henry Kirby by Archie P. McDonald 12/20/04
An East Texas timber baron
Rayburn's Home by Bob Bowman 12/13/04
Longley: Down and Out in a Nacogdoches Jail by Archie P. McDonald
Observatory - An Orphan’s Gift by Bob Bowman 11-29-04
Standing atop Mount Locke in the Big Bend area, McDonald Observatory
is far removed from East Texas, but without the interest and generosity
of an orphaned Confederate soldier from Clarksville, the world-famous
astronomy center might not exist today. William McDonald ...
Jester by Archie P. McDonald 11/22/04
Governor of Texas
Anne Porter in East Texas by Bob Bowman 11/15/04
"Porter apparently never forgot her life in East Texas. Many
of her short stories reflect the geography, rural traditions and
language of the pineywoods."
Thomas by Archie P. McDonald 11/9/04
Albert Thomas, who represented the Eighth Congressional District
— essentially, Harris County and Houston — in Congress for fifteen
terms until his death on February 15, 1966
Fiddler by Bob Bowman 11/1/04
Way back in the l930s, Henderson County storekeeper John Hatton
leaped from obscurity into statewide prominence when Athens started
its annual Old Fiddlers Reunion.
House That House Built by Archie P. McDonald 10/21/04
Edward Mandell House of Galveston and Houston rose about as high
as one can go in Texas or United States politics, yet he never
held an elective or appointive office. Instead of wanting to be
"king," House was content to be the "king maker."
by Chance - Edward Clark by Archie P. McDonald 10/6/04
International by Archie P. McDonald 9/7/04
"Long before American Airlines moved to Dallas or Continental
dominated Houston, Braniff flew the skies over Texas."
Buck by by Bob Bowman
The San Augustine Tribune, publisher Webster Hays and his buck.
Hockaday More Than a School Omarm by Archie P. McDonald 8/8/04
Founder of the Miss Hockaday School for Girls in Dallas
Ambassador by Archie P. McDonald 7/14/04
Edward Aubrey Clark of San Augustine
of Chief Bowles by Bob Bowman 7/7/04
"Few historical figures are as tragic as Chief Bowles, the
83-year-old Cherokee Indian chief who died on a Neches River battlefield
near Tyler 164 years ago..."
Wright Cuney by Archie P. McDonald 7/1/04
The most remarkable African American leader in Texas in the nineteenth
by Bob Bowman 6/26/04
Some people collect antiques. Others collect baseball cards. Personally,
I've always been partial to East Texas characters -- the sometimes
slightly off-center people who lived lifetimes doing things differently
than the rest of us.
of Swat" - Rogers Hornsby by Archie P. McDonald 5/19/04
St Louis by Archie P. McDonald 5/5/04
The life and death of La Salle.
Burial by Bob Bowman 4/3/04
Texas Historical Commission archeologists discovered the sailor's
skeletal remains during the 1996 excavation of French explorer
Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's ship, the Belle, which sank
in Matagorda Bay in 1686. His remains are now the oldest ever
buried in the State Cemetery.
and Harriet Potter by Archie P. McDonald 3/24/04
"There ain¹t no good in men"
First Cattle King by Archie P. McDonald 2/23/04
Mighty Hoss by Archie P. McDonald 12/03
Dan Blocker's story begins and ends in DeKalb, in Bowie County,
located in uppermost Northeastern Texas, though most of it played
out in West Texas and in Hollywood.
Pioneer by Bob Bowman 12/03
In 1921 she became the only black pilot in the world. A year later
she became the first black woman to fly over American soil.
Harper Starr by Archie P. McDonald 11/30/03
Dowling by Archie P. McDonald 11/6/03
of History by Bob Bowman 9/03
Ginger Rogers, La Salle, Custer and his men...
Barrymore Shooting by Bob Bowman 6/03
Thicket Founder by Bob Bowman 5/03
While Jackson's role in preserving the unique lands of the Big
Thicket is known and appreciated within the ranks of Texas environmentalists,
his work is not widely known in East Texas history.
Louis Crocket: Religious Leader and early Historian of East Texas
by Archie P. McDonald 4/20/03
Last Hero by Bob Bowman 4/03
Isaccs Menken: The lady on the Horse by Archie P. McDonald
Parker (and Cynthia Ann Parker) by Bob Bowman 12/02
by Archie P. McDonald 9/02
Women's Army Corps
Big Bopper by Archie P. McDonald 6/29/02
First Governor of Texas by Archie P. McDonald 6/16/02
by Archie P. McDonald 6/1/02
Old Roman, John H. Reagan by Archie P. McDonald 5/15/02
Texas Song Writer Ted Daffan by Bob Bowman 2/16/02
LaSalle Murder Case by Archie P. McDonald 2/18/02
Goyens by Archie P. McDonald 1/26/02
Statue for Lightnin' by Bob Bowman 1/18/02
Doctor by Bob Bowman 1/5/02
Environmentalism Began by Bob Bowman 12/16/01
Champ Jack Johnson by Archie P. McDonald 11/24/01
Wrong Grave by Bob Bowman, 11/4/01
Celebrities by Bob Bowman, 10/7/01
a Gospel Classic by Bob Bowman, 9/9/01
Antonio Margil de Jesus: Missionary by Archie P. McDonald,
Bell Maxey by Archie P. McDonald, 7/22/01
Days by Bob Bowman, 4/22/01
Yarborough, Liberal Where Liberal Isn't Cool by Archie P.
50,000 Shoeshine by Bob Bowman, 4/8/01
Lemon by Bob Bowman, 3/25/01
Journalist's Hero by Bob Bowman, 3/11/01
Bryce by Archie P. McDonald, 2/18/01
Taliaferro Barret by Archie P. McDonald, 2/4/01
East Texas' Mark Twain by Bob Bowman, 1/14/01
Shivers by Archie P. McDonald, 11/26/00
Bootblack King by Bob Bowman, 11/19/00
Ranger's Ranger by Archie P. McDonald, 10/22/00
Tough East Texan by Bob Bowman, 10/1/00
Ben by Bob Bowman, 9/27/00
Stephen Hogg by Archie P. McDonald, 8/27/00
I just read the column by Bob Bowman entitled "Mister Ben". I
enoyed it thoroughly and thought it captured my father very well.
Please thank Mr. Bowman for the delightful column - MariBen Ramsey,
Legal Counsel/Grants Austin Community Foundation, October 31,
... I stumble acros [your article] "Thergood's Pine" on the internet.
Well I have never been much of a history buff, and since I am
African American, I figured not many records existed of my family
history past my grandparents. Well needless to say, I was terrifically
shocked when I read the wonderful article written by Mr. Bowman
and spoke to my father and asked him if we had any family in the
east Texas area. He said that he thought we had family in Point
Blank but the name was originally spelled "Thergood". Well the
article written by Mr. Bowman was about a slave name Collier Thergood
from... you guessed it. Point Blank! I just wanted to personally
thank Mr. Bowman for sparking a renewed interest in obtaining
my family history with his article. Thank you again. ... - Eric
Thiergood, May 22, 2001
... I truly appreciate you for running that story and casting
a different light on slavery. So often as an African American,
I was told at ALL slaves where treated horribly and abused, and
while grievous abuse did occurred, I have gained some additional
insight by learning about my great, great, great, great (not quite
sure how many greats yet- Im still running down that information)
Just so that you know about what ever happened to that land after
passing through a couple of generations, my great great (again
unsure of how many greats) was pressured to sell by some investors.
He stood strong in refusing to sell the land the family loved
so much. That relative was later found murdered on his porch and
"investors" offering to purchase the land the following day. From
what I understand that land was sold for pennies on the dollar
and was later developed into quiet valuable real estate. Again
thank you so very much for the story ... - Eric Thiergood and
Family, May 23, 2001
East Texas celebrities
Your site missed blues player Ivory Joe Hunter. He died in Memphis
in 1974 but was born in Kirbyville, Texas in 1914. He was a very
prolific writer with some of his songs being covered by Sonny
James, Pat Boone, and Elvis Presley. Hunter's songs were on the
R & B charts(I Almost Lost My Mind #1 & I Need You So #2 in 1950)
, the pop charts (His Since I Met You Baby was # 12), and he later
was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. Check out a web site on him
at www.tsimon.com/hunter.htm - Phyllis Martin, November 08, 2002
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
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landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact